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Your final project will consist of four subsections, each based upon your chosen article from a popular publication, and each demonstrating your ability to carry out a particular kind of writing.

Each section should be between 200-250 words. Because they are so short, there is no space for peripheral material. So each section should begin with a thesis or over-arching, focusing statement.

Summary. This is pretty basic. Just distill the main claims/points of your chosen article. You might also make judicial use of short, key quotations.

Rhetorical analysis. You did this for you second paper, and you’ll be doing it again for your final. This is an analysis of how the author works to persuade her or his audience with appeals to emotion, authority, reason, or some combination thereof. The most difficult part of doing this is identifying the “so what.” This is key and should be stated explicitly in your first sentence of the section (e.g., The author relies heavily on emotional appeals in order to…). And whatever fills in that ellipsis (the dot-dot-dot) must say more than …to convince her readers. To convince readers how? Why? To make readers fearful, maybe? Of what? You’ll need to figure that out and make that clear.

Empirical analysis. This is where your other two articles come in. Remember, these need to be research-based. That means that the author or authors have conducted an original study. Usually, you’ll need to find these using Google Scholar or one of the other academic databases you were introduced to in our second library session. Normally, newspapers, magazines, and popular websites do not conduct their own research; they report on the research of others. If you’re having difficulty finding appropriate sources, go back to the library and consult with a librarian. Show them the assignment. They will help you. The point of this section is to see, in a limited way, whether or not the claims that are asserted in your popular article hold up to evidence in the field. Do your two research articles corroborate your main article? Counter it? Or maybe qualify it in some way? Remember to look in the introductions and conclusions of research articles to locate summaries of their findings. You don’t need to comb through the whole thing.

Observational analysis. This is analysis based on your own observations and experiences. Do you find your main article to be convincing or not? Why? For this section, try to avoid being overly generic and impressionistic. Back your responses and claims with specific and concrete examples. You may also be creative and so something a little outside of the box. If you’re interested, for example, in technology and marketing, you could interview some people about their impressions and habits and use that information in your write up.

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